Philippines opens giant US$1.2 billion casino
By Cecil Morella, AFPMANILA--President Benigno Aquino opened a giant US$1.2 billion casino on Saturday to kick off the Philippines' high-stakes bid to join the likes of Macau and Las Vegas in an elite group of gaming destinations.
March 17, 2013, 12:31 am TWN
Solaire Manila Resorts is the first of four huge gaming venues set to rise on reclaimed land in Manila Bay as part of a complex named “Entertainment City” that officials hope will draw millions of newly well-off Asian visitors.
“Macau and Singapore are always competing for bigger pieces of this industry's very lucrative pie. Your presence in the country is proof positive that ... above all else, the Philippines works,” the Filipino leader said in a speech to Entertainment City investors and others guests.
Aquino and billionaire Philippine port king Enrique Razon, who controls Solaire, officially opened the integrated resort after a colorful ceremony featuring dancers pirouetting on ropes suspended from the ceiling.
Run by Las Vegas-based Global Gaming Asset Management, Solaire has 300 gaming tables and 1,200 slot machines on a floor the size of four football pitches.
The building also has 500 hotel rooms and 2,000 parking slots.
Another wing is being built to add 300 all-suite hotel rooms, 30-40 high-end shops and a theater for traveling Broadway shows as well as local and foreign lounge acts.
Preparations are underway for the launch of the three other big-ticket casinos, which all involve major foreign backers.
The Belle Grande — a joint venture with the Philippines' richest man, Henry Sy, Australian billionaire James Packer and Macau tycoon Lawrence Ho — is scheduled to open next year.
Japanese gambling magnate Kazuo Okada and Malaysia's Genting Group are involved in the other two, each in partnership with local Chinese-Filipino tycoons. Both are expected to open between 2015 and 2017.